Colburn Starbucks scheme ‘sells residents down the river’

The site of the proposed Starbucks drive thru.

The leader of Richmondshire District Council, which approved plans to create a range of shops and market square at the heart of a large housing development, has spoken of her fury after developers lodged an alternative scheme to create a Starbucks drive-thru cafe and car park on the site instead.

Councillor Angie Dale told the authority’s planning committee that while the proposal for Woodland Avenue in Colburn would create 35 jobs, residents were being “sold down the river” as the original plan for the site should have created 135 jobs.

The meeting heard residents were divided over the proposals, with some stating the scheme would bolster the area’s regeneration and be welcomed by people who did not wish to drive to Catterick Garrison to buy a cup of coffee.

In a statement to the meeting, Woodburn Chase resident Scott Grey said: “If we are to compete with the ever-growing development of our surrounding areas then our elected officials must see past their personal feelings and support this venture for what it is – a step forward into the future of putting Colburn on the map as a place to be or visit.”

However, others claimed the scheme, which would also feature three retail outlets and 45 car parking spaces, would exacerbate traffic issues and questioned the long-term need for such an outlet following proposals to build a service station beside the A1(M) and to create a bypass.

They also questioned the effect it would have on residents with the coffee shop planning to open for 18 hours a day.

The meeting heard when outline planning permission had been granted for the site and the surrounding area, it had been agreed there would be a range of shops, such as a butcher, bakers and boutiques so that people did not have to travel to nearby towns.

The ability to attract specialist markets in a good sized market square was another agreed part of the vision.

Cllr Dale said the area had since become “a concrete jungle” and the public space element of the scheme had vanished.

She said: “I am extremely disappointed that we are even looking at this. There are 35 jobs when we could be looking at 135 jobs. I think that we have been sold down the river and as a planning authority if we allow this to go through we are allowing carte blanche anywhere else because I don’t know how we could possibly object to anybody putting anything else in.

“I was promised something as a resident of Colburn by Richmondshire District Council about what would come to fruition and it hasn’t happened.”

A decision on the scheme was deferred for a month to enable officers to discuss potential changes to the proposals to address concerns such as the amount of public space, traffic, pollution and the impact on surrounding properties.